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Friday, July 22, 2011

Virginia Beach Aquarium

This morning we headed out to see the Aquarium. We heard that it was amazing and we weren't disappointed. 
The first exhibit once inside was a walk through room of turtles. There was a pond and a little river. Then the turtles can come up on the leaves if they want as well. So we were able to get really close to some of them. 
Then we went through a river exhibit with some large fish you would find nearby. Then we came to the Komodo dragons. In the exhibit with them they also had Indonesian finches which was neat to see. 
The coolest part was the bubble you could stick your head up into and be "in" the exhibit. Both times (yes we went through the whole thing twice!) the komodo dragon was near the bubble when we got to it but once it was our turn he (she?) had wandered off somewhere else. It was still fun to be in the bubble!
Next up a walk-through aquarium with spotted eagle rays and all kinds of colorful fish.

A couple shots of us in the tunnel. The color is off though because of the weird lighting from the tunnel.
The tunnel had (I'm almost positive) fake coral but this next tank had real life coral and some parrot fish.  Further into the museum they had a room where you could see how they grew and cultivated the live coral for the exhibit. 
As we got through the fish Micah started getting a little hungry and wanted a snack but technically he wasn't supposed to have one in the exhibit area. I did sneak him a few cheerios at a time though and that made him happy. He was happy here but his face sure doesn't show it. Ha! 
Next up were the sea turtles! They are huge!
The kids were impressed!
After seeing the big tank with the large turtles we got to the education area where they had displays with all the different types of turtles, what their babies look like, what they eat. They also had several baby loggerhead turtles to see.
We also saw some sharks but it was majorly crowded around them so I didn't get any good pictures. Then we went through two areas - one where we could touch some rays and another where you could touch some crabs. Abby and Micah loved that!
After the first go-round through the exhibits we went on a river cruise and saw some of the birds and coastal areas around the museum. We also saw a pirate ship - which Abby loved after yesterday's pirate treasure hunt.
Then it was time for an IMAX  - Micah made it 2/3rds of the way through before he got too grumpy (it was supposed to be naptime after all) so we went and got a tiny snack while waiting. The IMAX was really cool and Abby really seemed to enjoy it - it was a 3D and Abby actually wore the glasses. Grandpa said that she would reach her hands and feet out when it looked like she could touch things. Then we got some lunch before our second go round through the aquarium (since it's not like the kids and I will be going back in the near future!)

Then it was onto the second building of the aquarium where we saw some river otters playing. They looked like they were having so much fun playing in the water!
We also saw some native birds in the aviary and then come crabs and sea horses.
It was a great day! Busy and tiring - but lots of fun! I think they did excellent in the education areas about each of the animals so it really would be a fantastic place for the kids when they are a little older if Grandma and Grandpa are still living here (or a future vacation.) 
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